Bar manager backs Symonds
The manager of the Brisbane hotel where Andrew Symonds was involved in an altercation with a patron on Sunday night has said Symonds was being harassed by the man and did nothing wrong. Cricket Australia is investigating the incident at the Normanby Hotel, where Symonds had been drinking with members of the Australian rugby league team in the hours after Australia wrapped up a 149-run win over New Zealand.
The timing was poor for Symonds, who barely a week ago admitted on television to having drunk too much at times over the past year. However, Mark Lassman, the Normanby Hotel's manager, said Symonds was drinking light beer, was not inebriated and did not start the fight.
"A patron tried to hug and take pictures of Andrew Symonds, Symonds declined the invitation and after he was further harassed, the patron was required to be removed," Lassman said on the ABC. "The incident was not a result of Andrew Symonds doing anything wrong and it's disappointing that sportsmen cannot socialise without being harassed."
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Mitchell Johnson, Brad Haddin and Jason Krejza were also in the bar on Sunday evening but were not with Symonds at the time. The paper reported that a man, believed to be an official with the Australian armed forces, allegedly threw two punches at Symonds after being refused a photograph and witnesses said Symonds left the bar shortly afterwards.
Cricket Australia's cricket operations manager Michael Brown is investigating the incident and is expected to report back to the chief executive James Sutherland within the next day. "There were a number of our players in the bar though not with the Symonds group at the time," Philip Pope, Cricket Australia's public affairs manager, said on the ABC.
"We just need to get a bit more time to work out exactly what did and didn't happen in the bar. After that a report will be compiled by Michael Brown ... I would imagine that the report will be completed either later today or early tomorrow."
Cricket Australia said in a statement a final recommendation would be determined after Sutherland received the report and had a chance to discuss the matter with Symonds, as well as taking feedback from the captain Ricky Ponting and the coach Tim Nielsen. Both Ponting and Nielsen had left Brisbane before the incident and Sutherland hopes to have completed those talks by Tuesday evening.
In the meantime, Symonds will travel with the Australian team to Adelaide ahead of the second Test against New Zealand, which starts on Friday. The Gabba Test was Symonds' first official appearance for Australia following his axing from the squad in August.